HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Whoopee Boys, The
Set, The
Cyrano de Bergerac
Death Walks in Laredo
Gemini Man
End of the Century
If Beale Street Could Talk
Raining in the Mountain
Day Shall Come, The
Scandal
Buzzard
Race for Your Life, Charlie Brown
Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon, A
Sons of Denmark
Light of My Life
Umbrellas of Cherbourg, The
Jerky Boys, The
Chambre en Ville, Une
Joker
Relaxer
Mustang, The
Baie des Anges, La
Ready or Not
Seven Days in May
Bliss
Hollywood Shuffle
Uncut Gems
Wilt
Daniel Isn't Real
Presidio, The
Curvature
Puzzle
Farewell, The
Challenge of the Tiger
Ad Astra
Winslow Boy, The
Pain and Glory
Judgment at Nuremberg
Rambo: Last Blood
Sansho the Bailiff
   
 
Newest Articles
Demy-Wave: The Essential Jacques Demy on Blu-ray
The Makings of a Winner: Play It Cool! on Blu-ray
Sony Channel's Before They Were Famous: A Galaxy of Stars
Start Worrying and Hate the Bomb: Fail-Safe on Blu-ray
Completely Different: Monty Python's Flying Circus Series 2 on Blu-ray
Bash Street Kid: Cosh Boy on Blu-ray
Seeing is Believing: Being There on Blu-ray
Top Thirty Best (and Ten Worst) Films of the 2010s by Andrew Pragasam
Top of the Tens: The Best Films of the Decade by Graeme Clark
Terrorvision: A Ghost Story for Christmas in the 1970s
Memories Are Made of This: La Jetee and Sans Soleil on Blu-ray
Step Back in Time: The Amazing Mr. Blunden on Blu-ray
Crazy Cats and Kittens: What's New Pussycat on Blu-ray
No Place Like Home Guard: Dad's Army - The Lost Episodes on Blu-ray
A Real-Life Pixie: A Tribute to Michael J. Pollard in Four Roles
We're All In This Together: The Halfway House on Blu-ray
Please Yourselves: Frankie Howerd and The House in Nightmare Park on Blu-ray
Cleesed Off: Clockwise on Blu-ray
Sorry I Missed You: Les Demoiselles de Rochefort on Blu-ray
Silliest of the Silly: Monty Python's Flying Circus Series 1 on Blu-ray
Protest Songs: Hair on Blu-ray
Peak 80s Schwarzenegger: The Running Man and Red Heat
Rock On: That'll Be the Day and Stardust on Blu-ray
Growing Up in Public: 7-63 Up on Blu-ray
Learn Your Craft: Legend of the Witches and Secret Rites on Blu-ray
   
 
  American Werewolf in London, An There WolfBuy this film here.
Year: 1981
Director: John Landis
Stars: David Naughton, Jenny Agutter, Griffin Dunne, John Woodvine, Brian Glover, Don McKillop, Paul Kember, Lila Kaye, Anne-Marie Davies, Frank Oz, Rik Mayall, Linzi Drew, Alan Ford
Genre: Horror, Comedy, Drama
Rating:  7 (from 9 votes)
Review: Two American backpackers out in the English countryside walk into a village pub, meeting with a frosty reception when they ask about the pentagram drawn on one wall. Escaping into the night, they wander onto the moors and are hunted down by an unseen beast which attacks them, leaving only David (David Naughton) left alive. But when his dead friend Jack (Griffin Dunne) appears to inform him in hospital that he's now a werewolf, David doesn't know what to believe...

This melancholy, blackly comic horror was written by director John Landis, and was released around the same time as that other werewolf hit, The Howling. But where The Howling was content to parade a series of shocks, effects and in-jokes, Landis' film has more of an emotional core - although Rick Baker's excellent special effects and makeup were the main attraction.

The gory shock scenes are played straight, but the addition of comedy setpieces makes American Werewolf easy to warm to, and ironically gives the tragic elements more prominence. Funny bits include David waking up to find himself naked in the zoo (do they really keep wolves in zoos?) and trying to get arrested ("Queen Elizabeth - is a man!"), and there are plenty of nice details such as the punks on the underground or the TV with only three channels - none of which are worth watching - which offer an amused look at Britain from an American point of view.

This is that rare horror film with no real evil behind its tragedy - in fact the strongest emotions on display are guilt and regret. Even the villagers are consumed with guilt, and David has the burden of having the ghosts of past victims following him around. Alex (Jenny Agutter) is the nurse who falls in love with him, and contributes the heart of the film as she realises she cannot help him. The possibility of a romantic ending - David only being able to be killed by someone who loves him - proves to be foolish whimsy.

Naughton fits the role of the innocent abroad, and you feel it's a real shame that fate should deal him such a unlucky hand when his nightmares become his reality. The other actors are equally effective, with the sardonic Dunne and the sweet-natured Agutter standing out. That ending always gets me. Music by Elmer Bernstein, and the soundtrack includes many oldies with "moon" in the title. Little joke there.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 14221 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 

John Landis  (1950 - )

American writer-director who made a big splash in the comedy genre, starting with The Kentucky Fried Movie, Animal House and The Blues Brothers. An American Werewolf in London was an innovative blend of comedy and horror, and remains his best film.

Mega-hit Trading Places followed, but after a tragic accident on the set of Twilight Zone: The Movie, Landis' talent seemed to desert him, and he offered up some increasingly unimpressive comedies. He returned briefly to horror with Innocent Blood, and after a long spell away helmed Brit comedy Burke and Hare; he also directed Michael Jackson's "Thriller" and "Black or White" videos.

 
Review Comments (4)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star is the best at shouting?
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Brian Blessed
Tiffany Haddish
Steve Carell
Olivia Colman
Captain Caveman
Sylvester Stallone
Gerard Butler
Samuel L. Jackson
Bipasha Basu
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
  Butch Elliot
Andrew Pragasam
Darren Jones
  Rachel Franke
Enoch Sneed
Paul Smith
Paul Shrimpton
   

 

Last Updated: